Is agile right for you? Take the test
The agile method has been a big hit over the past decade, its reach now stretching beyond the field of IT to embrace customer relations and product development. However, hindsight shows that this approach does not fit all organizations.
Agile proved to be a painful experience for GE, which had to drop the method after losing 30 percent of its market valuation. Is it the right methodology for you? Ask yourself these key questions:
- Is your business activity modular? If the business is complex, can it be broken down into independent units or sequential tasks?
- Are you looking for cross-functional innovations to serve customers, rather than improving day-to-day operations?
If you answered yes to these two questions, your organization is a suitable candidate for the agile method. And if it’s not, don’t despair! You can benefit from agile’s advantages by proxy, through your partners, as STMicroelectronics did by developing partnerships with Hewlett Packard and Bosch.
But don’t forget the human-resources aspect. Make sure you have the right balance of talent, unlike Nokia, whose agile projects have been largely unsuccessful due to a shortage of engineers. Conversely, if you’re overstaffed, your teams risk turning in circles due to a lack of projects.
Finally, although it’s highly attractive, the agile method isn’t an end in itself. Take a step back to analyze these different factors and avoid simply jumping on the bandwagon.
by Yves Doz and Maria Guadalupe (INSEAD Knowledge, February 2021).
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